"Am I therefore become your enemy,because I TELL YOU THE TRUTH...?"
(Galatians 4:16)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hizbullah supporters protest Gaza siege

Black-clad Shi'ite women from Hizbullah carry Palestinian flags during a protest in the southern suburbs of Dahiyeh, Lebanon, Friday.Photo: AP
Thousands of Hizbullah supporters swarmed Beirut's southern suburbs Friday, demanding Israel lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip.The Hizbullah supporters, including black-clad Shi'ite women with their children, waved flags and carried banners denouncing the Gaza blockade as they marched in the neighborhoods devastated by IAF airstrikes in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.Chants of "Death to America" and "Israel is the enemy of Muslims" rang out from the crowd.The protests were in response to a call by Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah to people across the Arab and Muslim world to help end the siege and support the Palestinians in Gaza.Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after Hamas seized power of it last year, ousting the forces of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The barrier was tightened last month when Gaza terrorists resumed firing rockets at Israel.Addressing the Beirut crowd, Hizbullah deputy leader Sheik Naim Kassem called on Arab and Islamic governments to act to help lift the Gaza blockade and urged Egypt to take an "historic stance" and open its border crossing with Gaza."Silence on the (Gaza) blockade is disgraceful. Silence on the blockade amounts to participation in the (Israeli) occupation," Kassem said.In the southern Lebanese city of Sidon, about 1,000 Hizbullah supporters protested the Gaza siege with a sit-in in the city's main square, bringing traffic to a halt for about three hours. In Syria, about 3,000 Palestinian refugees also took part in a demonstration at the Sbeineh camp outside of the capital, Damascus.Hamas official Sami Abu Zouhdi, who joined the demonstration in Syria, warned that any IDF escalation in Gaza would be met with a "tough" response by Hamas. He also urged Egypt to open the Rafah crossing, saying Friday's protests were a "message of rage" against all parties contributing to the Gaza blockade, in a clear reference to Egypt.
As in the days of Noah....

Bush claims 'progress' in ME peace talks

US President George W. Bush, poised to finish his presidency without the Middle East peace deal he once said was in reach, declared Friday that Israelis and Palestinians have made great strides toward settling decades of conflict."No question, this is a hard challenge," Bush said in the Oval Office alongside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas."But nevertheless, people must recognize that we have made a good deal of progress."Abbas concurred: "Some might say that all these efforts perhaps went in vain. I happen to disagree."In what was likely their last face-to-face meeting before Bush leaves office on January 20, the two men sought to praise each other and emphasize what has been gained, not the opportunity lost. Their meeting came just days after the UN Security Council endorsed as "irreversible" the administration's peace process. It was launched by Bush last year in nearby Annapolis, Maryland, and championed by Abbas and outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.The president seized on the UN move as confirming a "path to a Palestinian state, and a path to peace in the Middle East."Bush had said confidently that a peace deal, built around the outlines of a first-ever Palestinian state living in peace with Israel, was doable by year's end.But continuing violence; the situation in Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas; and internal political developments in Israel have made the deadline unreachable. So instead, the Bush administration has tried to lock in the Annapolis process by enshrining it in the international system.For his part, Abbas was effusive about Bush's efforts. He said the US president was fair and firm in pushing both sides to meet their obligations."There is no doubt that we will always remember the efforts that you have undertook to promote the peace process," Abbas said.He also reaffirmed the Palestinian commitment to the peace talks, and not as a "slogan or a rhetorical commitment. We are practically committed to the peace process. And we are confident all these efforts will be transferred to the new administration."He was referring to US President-elect Barack Obama, who succeeds Bush on January 20.
As in the days of Noah....

Rice:Violence will hurt Palestinians

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday called on Hamas in Gaza not to attack Israel, and warned that acts of violence would not help the Palestinian cause."I sincerely hope that there will not be a resumption of the violence because that is not going to help the people of Gaza, it is not going to help the Palestinians, it is not going to help the Palestinian cause," she said.Rice's comments came at the end of the truce agreement between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza, which lasted six months.United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reiterated his appeal to extend the truce and immediately halt rocket attacks against Israel and all acts of violence, UN deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said at the UN headquarters in New York."A major escalation of violence would have grave consequences for the protection of civilians in Israel and Gaza, the welfare of the Gazan civilian population, and the sustainability of political efforts," Okabe said.Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hussam Zakkai echoed similar statements on Friday. Zakkai called on Israel and the Palestinians not to let the situation in the Gaza Strip deteriorate into full-blown conflict, as it would negatively affect civilians there."It's up to Israel to be flexible about opening Gaza border crossings," he said. "It's up to the Palestinian factions not to escalate their operations, so Gazans won't have to pay the price of confrontations."The spokesperson said that until the last minute, Egypt, which had brokered the truce agreement, had hoped that Israel and the Palestinians would announce their willingness to extend the cease-fire agreement."At this point, no one has requested that we extend the truce," he said, adding that Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in August 2005 had not freed Gaza from occupation. However, Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer warned Palestinian factions the IDF was in its best form ever to respond to any provocation."There's a limit to what Israel can absorb, and at the moment it's like we're standing with a stopwatch in hand," he said."The IDF has never been in a greater state of readiness, and in the case of an attack, it will know how to operate in the best way."Speaking at a Tel Aviv conference, Ben-Elizer warned "If there's no calm in Israel, there won't be calm in Gaza either.""Israel won't accept a 'half-truce,'" he added.

As in the days of Noah...

Mortar shell hits clubhouse as a dozen fired into southern Israel

One day after the truce between Israel and the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip officially ended, hope for an unofficial ceasefire appeared grim, with rockets and mortar shells continuing to rain down on the western Negev, and the IAF quickly responding. Approximately a dozen mortar shells were fired into Israel on Saturday afternoon. One of them hit a youth clubhouse at a kibbutz close to the Gaza Strip. No one was wounded in the attack as the building was empty at the time but damage was caused to the structure.The remaining mortar shells struck other Gaza periphery towns in Israel, around the central and northern parts of the Strip. No casualties were wounded in the barrage. Earlier, eight Kassam rockets and two mortar shells had struck open areas around the Gaza-periphery communities, including two near Ashkelon. Nobody was hurt in any of the attacks, and no damage was reported. In response, IAF warplanes launched an airstrike against armed Palestinians in northern Gaza. Palestinians reported that one gunman was killed in the attack, while another was wounded. Since the ceasefire ended, a total of 13 rockets have hit areas throughout the western Negev. On Friday morning, two rockets landed in open fields in the Eshkol region, while a third slammed into the Sha'ar Hanegev area.Later on Friday night, Palestinians fired another two Kassam rockets towards the western Negev.None were wounded by the rockets and no damage was reported.In addition, Palestinian gunmen shot at farmers near Kibbutz Nir Oz, in the Eshkol region on Friday morning.Nobody was wounded in the shootings, but a number of vehicles sustained damage.Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attacks.
As in the days of Noah....

Myanmar arrests 19 N. Korean defectors

YANGON-Myanmar authorities arrested 19 North Korean defectors near the Thai border earlier this month, an official source confirmed Saturday.The defectors, including children and elderly women, who had entered Myanmar through China, were arrested in the Myanmar border town of Tachilek opposite Mae Sai in Thailand while transiting through Myanmar on their way to South Korea, where they had planned to seek asylum, the source said.The defectors were sent to a prison in Keng Tung, a small town in Myanmar's southern Shan state, where it is believed they will be tried for immigration violations, the source said.North Korean defectors usually travel through China to countries such as Myanmar and Laos and then to Thailand or other nations which might be sympathetic to their plight.The arrested North Koreans face two to three years in a Myanmar prison if convicted.Myanmar and North Korea resumed diplomatic ties in April 2007.
As in the days of Noah...

China blocks access to New York Times Web site

BEIJING (AP) - China has blocked access to the New York Times Web site, the newspaper said Saturday, days after the central government defended its right to censor online content it deems illegal. Computer users who logged on in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou received a message that the site was not available when they tried to connect on Friday morning, the paper said. Some users were cut off as early as Thursday evening, it said.The Web site remained inaccessible from Beijing Saturday.A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said they do not deal with Web sites.The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which regulates the Internet, could not be reached for comment.Earlier this week, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao defended China's right to censor Web sites that have material deemed illegal by the government, saying that other countries regulate their Internet usage too.During the Summer Games held in August, China allowed access to long-barred Web sites such as the British Broadcasting Corp. and Human Rights Watch after an outcry from foreign reporters who complained that Beijing was failing to live up to its pledges of greater media freedom.The New York Times said Beijing had blocked the Chinese-language Web site of the BBC, and Web sites of Voice of America, Asiaweek, and Ming Pao, a Hong Kong newspaper, earlier in the week. But apart from Ming Pao the sites were all accessible Friday, it said.Ming Pao's online site was still inaccessible Saturday in Beijing, but the others were accessible.China has the most online users in the world with more than 250 million, but it has also put in place a sophisticated system to police Web sites for sensitive material and routinely blocks Web sites that are pro-Tibetan independence or the Dalai Lama.A spokeswoman for The Times, Catherine J. Mathis, told the paper that there did not appear to be a technical issue. Users in Japan, Hong Kong, and the U.S. were also not experiencing difficulties, the paper said.

As in the days of Noah....

Olmert's bid to revive Syrian track runs into blank walls

Israeli caretaker prime minister Ehud Olmert has been warned that the trip he booked to Ankara for next Monday will be an exercise in futility. Damascus let it be known Friday. Dec. 19, that acceptance in advance of its "borders document" was the pre-condition for direct peace talks. This six-point document covers Israel's withdrawal -not only from the Golan but also from another slice of territory, the northeastern bank of the Sea of Galilee and Hamat Gader region, which is part of pre-1967 Israel.This maximalist approach, say DEBKAfile's sources in Washington, Jerusalem and Ankara, aims at notifying US president-elect Barack Obama and designated secretary of state Hillary Clinton that Damascus' "borders document" is a take-it-or-leave it proposition. Syrian leaders appear to believe that after he takes office, Obama will assign American partners to the negotiations who will tilt their tenor against Israel.Israeli opposition leaders from right and left say that, as a provisional head of government until the Feb. 10 general election, Olmert has no moral or public mandate to go ahead with the initiative. He therefore has no valid business in the Turkish capital. This view was shared even by his own Kadima party colleague,Tzahi Hanegbi. Opposition Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu said the post-election government he expects to lead next year would not be bound by any "Olmert-Livni concessions to Syria" or abandon the Golan.Syria put forward the "borders document" Tuesday, Dec. 16, three months after indirect talks with Israel brokered by Turkey were bogged down: The Israeli side refused to define in advance the limits of its territorial withdrawal, while Syria withheld a prior commitment to break with Tehran, Hizballah and the Palestinian terrorists, for the sake of a peace accord.It was published shortly before the arrival in the region of Dennis Ross, one of Obama's senior Middle East advisers. The sense in Damascus is that Ross will have an important role in putative Syrian-Israeli-US negotiations in the future.However, DEBKAfile's sources in Washington say his future assignment is still unknown, as is the Obama team's perception of the US role in the talks.
As in the days of Noah...

IDF's post-truce signal to Hamas: Same old rules unless you go too far

DEBKAfile's military sources report: Minutes after Hamas declared the six-month "truce" was over and non-renewable at 6 a.m. Friday, Dec. 19, the Israeli Army spokesman had this to say: "Quiet will be met by quiet but we will not hesitate to respond to missile offensives." Whereupon, proving the threat was hollow, Hamas fired three missiles, followed by sniper fire which drove farmers from their fields at Kibbutz Nir Oz and damaged vehicles.Unnamed defense officials admitted that a large-scale Israeli military operation to stamp out the missile offensive and destroy Hamas weapons stockpiles was not on the cards at this point. The IDF would stick to air strikes against missile cells and Hamas installations, however ineffectual barring major changes on the ground.One military source commented: "The chief of staff (Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi) is too smart to be caught in this trap (of a major operation) with his hands tied."The IDF spokesman then explained that in the current period of electioneering, there would be no one to back the chief of staff at home or in a world plunged in a struggle for economic survival."The official added: "Hamas has missiles capable of reaching targets north of Ashkelon." People in Sderot, Ashkelon and other targeted Israeli communities responded with outrage.They ask how Hamas, like the Lebanese Hizballah, were allowed to upgrade their deadly arsenals during the watch of defense minister Ehud Barak and Ashkenazi in a period before any election campaigns.The population bordering on the Gaza Strip has opened up bomb shelters, is rehearsing emergency drill routines and bracing for the worst. Some will inevitably head north, particularly after the army spokesman's comment: "The IDF will strike only in the event of many casualties and a change in the general picture."The Hamas was thus given to understand that Israel's virtual do-nothing military policy would change only if it fires too many missiles or kills too many civilians. Otherwise, the IDF will abide by the current rules dictated from Gaza and Damascus, which leave the initiative with the Palestinian terrorists and permit only a strictly controlled Israeli response.In the first 18 days of December, when the notional ceasefire was still in force, Palestinian terrorists slammed 83 Qassam missiles and 52 mortar shells from Gaza into Israeli civilian locations.
As in the days of Noah...

NAZI WATCH:Fla. Man Says He Was Beaten Because of His Faith

A South Florida man continues to recover after being badly beaten. Dovid Hazan thinks he was targeted because of his Jewish faith...

NAZI REVIVAL WATCH:Russian Racists Copy Terrorist Tactics With Online Beheadings

"Too many people in the 1990s had to look for some universal explanation instead of Communist ideology, and ethnic nationalism was a good universal explanation."
Sky News: Russia's Racists Copy Islamists

Russia to Cut Arms if U.S. Drops Missile Defense

MOSCOW-A news report is quoting a senior Russian general as saying that the military will cut some weapons programs if the United States drops its missile defense plans.The Interfax news agency is quoting Col.-Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov as saying that the Russian armed forces wouldn't need some expensive weapons programs if the U.S. doesn't go ahead with its plans to deploy missile defense sites in Europe. Solovtsov's statement on Friday was the latest expression of the Kremlin's hope that Barack Obama's administration may reverse the plan to build missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic.Russia has fiercely opposed the plan and promised to deploy missiles next to Poland if the U.S. goes ahead with the plan.
As in the days of Noah...

Friday, December 19, 2008

World Bank: Russia may need help if oil falls more...

MOSCOW (AP)Russia would come under crippling financial pressure and may need to raise money externally if oil languishes at an average of $30 a barrel over the next two years, the World Bank predicted Friday.The bleak scenario would mark a rapid unraveling of Russia's oil-fueled economic gains over the past eight years, during which time the government has paid down most of its foreign debt and built up a vast stockpile of international reserves."If oil prices in 2009 and 2010 average $30 a barrel, that would be a nightmare scenario for a global economy," Zeljko Bogetic, the World Bank's chief economist in Russia told investors on Friday. "The pressures on the current account and public finances in Russia would quickly rise to a point where the financing constraint would become so sharp that it's possible even to envisage Russia's return from a creditor to international organisations to (that of) a borrower."At $50 a barrel, Russia could drain much of its reserve funds and run budgetary deficits, but would not face a "meltdown" scenario, said Bogetic.Oil prices took a sharp turn downward this week, with the February light sweet crude contract trading just over $42 a barrel-more than $100 lower than its July peak-despite a large output cut pledged this week by oil producers' cartel OPEC.Some major oil-importing countries have criticized OPEC's move to push up prices during a global slowdown.The World Bank currently forecasts an average oil price of $75 a barrel over the next two years, said Bogetic.Among emerging markets, Russia has been one of the hardest hit by the global financial crisis and plunging oil prices, the mainstay of the Russian economy. These factors have put the national currency under intense strain and triggered massive stock market losses and capital outflows from the country.Russia, which grew at over 8 percent last year, is facing a severe slowdown in growth, and possibly even recession next year, analysts say. Torrid figures released earlier this week showed that industrial output had plunged 10.8 percent in November from the previous month, signaling a dramatic slowdown in the final quarter. "Clearly we are in the middle of a major growth recession in Russia," said Bogetic. "I would call it a growth recession, not an output recession—yet."He said the World Bank had tweaked its earlier projection of 3 percent growth next year to between 2-3 percent.
By CATRINA STEWART--Associated Press Writer
As in the days of Noah...

Iraqi shoe thrower's family protest

Russian navy holiday in Caribbean

Warships from Russias Northern Fleet have arrived in Cuba for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. A unit led by the Destroyer Admiral Chabanenko will stay in Havana for at least four days...

Russian warships arrive in Cuba...

HAVANA-A Russian anti-submarine destroyer and two logistical warships are entering waters off Cuba in a nonmilitary visit that's the first of its kind since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. The Admiral Chabanenko vessel is unfurling black plumes of smoke as it chugs toward Havana Bay, flanked by two smaller boats.Closer to shore, a barge that routinely ferries food from the United States to the communist-run island is apparently moving to make room for the Russian boats. Washington's trade embargo allows direct sale of U.S. agricultural products to Cuba.The Russian ships plan to moor on Friday in Havana in a show of increased cooperation between the two countries, though Cuba's government is not commenting.
As in the days of Noah....

Don't destabilize Russia,Putin warns foes...

MOSCOW (Reuters)Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned Russia's foes on Friday against trying to destabilize a country facing broadening economic crisis, Russian news agencies reported.Putin did not specify who might pose a threat to Russia's stability. But in the past, he has often blamed Western security services of trying to destabilize the country using opposition groups and non-governmental organizations as their instruments. "Any attempts to weaken or destabilize Russia, harm the interests of the country will be toughly suppressed," they quoted ex-KGB spy Putin as telling an annual meeting of top spies and security officers ahead of their professional holiday.Putin, who was the Russian president in 2000-08, has contributed greatly to the growth of influence of Russia's FSB federal security service, a successor of the Soviet-era KGB.Many ex-KGB officers became key government and regional officials during his presidency forming his power base, which largely remained intact after Putin handed over powers to his successor Dmitry Medvedev in May. Critics say that under Putin, security services have become excessively influential and expressed fears Russia could one day become a police state.Rights campaigners have urged Medvedev to veto a cabinet bill ordering that professional judges rather than juries run trials involving terrorism, civil unrest and several other serious crimes.They also urged Medvedev to block government attempts to impose high treason charges on people accused of "harming the constitutional order," which critics believe could lead to a political witch-hunt.Analysts say the role of the security services is likely to grow even further as Russia plunges into an economic crisis marked by rising unemployment and financial woes that threaten the popularity of the government.Avoiding civil unrest and maintaining political stability is viewed by the government as a top priority.
The Day of Security Officers is marked annually on December 20, a day when in 1917 Bolshevik rulers created the CheKa secret police to suppress their foes. After a string of transformations, the Cheka became the KGB.As president, Putin always personally attended the holiday meetings of security officials. Medvedev, a former corporate lawyer with no security background, stayed away and sent his chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin to deliver his greetings.Medvedev, who faced the challenge of a brief war with Georgia soon after becoming president which soured Russia's ties with the West, said security concerns remained paramount."In the past 20 years the world has changed but has not become a quieter place," Naryshkin said, reading out his letter, according to Interfax.
By Oleg Shchedrov

As in the days of Noah...

Palestinian Family Offers Shoe-Throwing Reporter a Bride

NABLUS, West Bank-The head of a large West Bank family wants to reward the Iraqi journalist who lobbed his shoes at President George W. Bush by sending him a bride.Ahmad Salim Judeh says if journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi is interested the family is willing to send one of their daughters to Iraq along with her dowry.The 75-year-old Judeh says doing so "would be our honor."He also said Friday that the 500-member clan had raised $30,000 for al-Zeidi's legal defense.Al-Zeidi has become something of a folk hero in the Middle East since throwing his shoes at Bush at a Baghdad press conference Sunday. News stations across the Arab world have repeatedly shown footage of the incident.Al-Zeidi is unmarried.
As in the days of Noah...

Boom in 'Bush attack shoes'

THE Turkish shoe company making the brand of footwear used by an Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at US President George W. Bush has seen a surge in orders.Ramazan Baydan, owner of the shoe factory in Istanbul of the same name, told DPA that he had received orders in the past week for some 300,000 pairs of the model that was thrown at the US president."Someone even came from America seeking distribution rights," Baydan said. The entrepreneur wants to rename the model, a brown leather shoe with a thick sole, as the "Bush shoes". In Turkey the shoes sell for $US42 wholesale. Journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi remains in custody after being wrestled to the ground after throwing both his shoes at Bush during the president's Sunday news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad.
By Agence France-Presse
As in the days of Noah...

Iraqi shoe thrower wins hearts in Iran

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN)-The Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at President George W. Bush has won some hearts in neighboring Iran, where one cleric dubbed the act "the shoe intifada (rebellion)."Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati-leading Friday prayers in Tehran-hailed journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi's now-famous fling last Sunday, when Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki were holding a news conference in Baghdad.His remarks-reported by Iran's state-run Islamic Republic News Agency-reflect the support many Middle East people have shown for al-Zaidi, an Iraqi correspondent for Egypt-based Al-Baghdadia TV."The shoe intifada in Iraq should not be overlooked easily," he said."Well done to the Iraqi journalist for throwing the shoes at the U.S. president."Speaking to worshipers at Tehran University, Jannati labeled the shoes "more valuable than crowns, medals and signs" and believes they should be place in an Iraqi museum.The government of Iran and the United States have been bitter antagonists for decades.Iran has opposed the U.S. presence and policies in Iraq and the United States has accused Iran of backing militants in Iraq.Jannati said the U.S. was trapped in a quagmire in Iraq and didn't know what to do about it."The shoe hurling by the Iraqi journalist had many messages which the world received and the Iraqi people, too, held demonstrations afterwards. People should support the Iraqi journalist," said Jannati, who believes shoes should be regular props in the anti-U.S. demonstrations in Iran and Iraq.In the Indian capital of New Delhi, Iran's deputy foreign minister told reporters that the incident points to frustration in the elite levels of society with Bush's policies.The minister, Mohammad Mehdi Akhondzadeh, said it was similar sentiments that led Americans to elect Barack Obama president.Neither of al-Zaidi's shoes hit Bush, and the journalist was knocked to the ground, hustled out of the room and arrested by security officials.As he was pushed to the floor, the reporter shouted out that his shoe-throwing-a traditional insult in Arab culture-was a "farewell kiss" to a "dog" who launched the 2003 invasion of Iraq.Al-Zaidi faces time in an Iraqi prison. The Iraqi government on Thursday said he had written a letter to al-Maliki asking for leniency and calling his actions "ugly."

As in the days of Noah....

Obama Team Planning Iranian Outreach Post

Barack Obama is planning to create a new administration post meant to reach out to Iran, The Washington Times reported Friday.Such a move would support the president-elect's pledge during the campaign to engage the rogue nation.The Times quoted a State Department official who said Obama's team discussed naming a senior Iranian outreach coordinator in early meetings with Hillary Clinton, Obama's pick for secretary of state.Iranian specialists also said the position was in the works.Obama's team has made no official announcement on the creation of such a post.Obama drew criticism from his GOP rival John McCain during the presidential campaign for saying he would be willing to meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.Though the Bush administration has traditionally refused to negotiate with Iran without preconditions, Undersecretary of State William Burns attended a meeting in Switzerland over the summer with an Iranian nuclear official.
Click here to read the full story in The Washington Times. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2008/12/19/report-obama-team-planning-iranian-outreach-post/
As in the days of Noah...


ISLAMIC WATCH:Suffering of Afghan Women

ISLAMIC CRAZE WATCH:"Forced Marriage" Doctor Comes Home

ISLAMIC CRAZE WATCH:Parents drugged,bound and gagged doctor in forced marriage bid

An NHS doctor was imprisoned, drugged, bound and gagged before being forced into marriage in Bangladesh, it emerged today, as a British judge issued an order telling her parents not “to pester, harass or intimidate” her.Dr Humayra Abedin, 32, was held captive for four-and-a-half months by her family and was forced to marry while under the influence of drugs. She was freed by a court in Bangladesh and returned to Britain on Tuesday.In the High Court in London this morning, Mr Justice Coleridge issued injunctions against Dr Abedin’s parents, a paternal uncle and the man she was forced to marry.He declared that it was “vitally important for the message to be understood in those communities where this kind of behaviour is sanctioned” that the courts will act “swiftly and decisively” in cases were there had been such a “gross abuse of an individual’s human rights”.Outside court Dr Abedin said: “I’m very happy to be back, but I’d like to get back to my life. I’m looking forward to starting my job.”She said she was grateful to the support she had received from the media and told others in her position: “Don’t give up hope. There is hope.”Dr Abedin came to Britain in 2002 to take a masters in public health at Leeds University. A year later she moved to London to train as a GP at Whipps Cross hospital. She had been due to became a registrar at an East London surgery this summer.In court, Dr Abedin’s lawyer, Hassan Khan, read from a statement describing how she flew to Bangladesh in August, believing that her mother was very ill.On arriving at the family home “she was manhandled into the property by a number of people and immediately locked into a room,” the statement read. “She was always monitored by four or five guards and she was not free to leave the property. Her passport, tickets and other documents were taken from her.”She was able to alert friends in Britain via text message, and a Bangladeshi human rights organisation called Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) came looking for her at the family home.This prompted her family to confiscate her phone and try to send her away with people claiming to be police officers. “Following her repeated refusal to go with them, her hands were tied behind her back and her head was covered with a cloth,” the statement says.Screaming for help, she was “physically manhandled” into an ambulance. “Two of the people in the ambulance gagged her by placing their hands over her mouth to the extent that at one point she believed she would suffocate because she could not breath. She then decided there was no point in screaming further because she feared for her life.”Dr Abedin was then taken to a psychiatric hospital in Dhaka where she was injected daily with mood stabilisers and psychiatric drugs. She remained there for almost two months.“By that time she was in a complete state of despair, her spirit was broken and she felt there was no means by which her position could be resolved. She felt helpless.”Isolated from the outside world, she was told that she had lost her job in Britain and could not return. Her parents told her they wanted her to wed Dr Khondokar Mohammad Abdul Jalal, whom she had previously declined to marry.On November 14, she was taken to the Khulna area, where, still under the influence of drugs, she “entered into a marriage ceremony against her will and under duress”.By early December, ASK had obtained a court hearing, but Dr Abedin was “told by her parents that if she said she wanted to go to the United Kingdom both her mother and her father would be put in prison and she would be placed in police custody”.“Dr Abedin states that although she is an intelligent and educated woman, by then her spirit and will had been so worn down that she believed what she was being told.”Last Sunday the court in Dhaka ruled that she must be freed. Dr Abedin “retains a natural love for her parents despite their treatment of her,” the statement said. “She does not wish for her parents to suffer any punishment for what has been done by them to her. She is an only child.”Dr Abedin’s solicitor, Anne-Marie Hutchinson, said of the case: “The profile it has received means that other people will feel that they can come forward and seek the relief that, as Mr Justice Coleridge said, they’re entitled to.” She said Dr Abedin would seek to have her marriage annulled in Britain and had no plans to return to Bangladesh.
By Chris Smyth

PS:Im so glad this woman is being freed from this ordeal from hell....!Picture how many other thousands of women go thru this and there is no way out for them...!
As in the days of Noah....

Gladiators to Return to Colosseum After 2,000 Years

After 2,000 years, gladiators will return to the Colosseum-though only in mock fights.Umberto Broccoli, head of archaeology at Rome City Council, said a series of mock combats would take place next year to give the Colosseum's visitors a feel of the shows originally staged there, along with "the sights, sounds and smells" of the arena.The events would be launched to mark the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Vespasian, who began the construction of the Colosseum, completed by Titus, his son and successor.It has yet to be decided, however, whether the mock combats will be staged on a wooden floor placed over the subterranean chambers in the arena itself-or on a stage outside it.Broccoli insisted that, however the fights were presented, they would be "authentic," with gladiators wearing the kind of outfits the real combatants wore and using the same weapons and fighting techniques.The archaeologist, who is also a radio and TV journalist, said this would not be a "tacky" show put on by fake centurions and gladiators who pose for photographs with tourists outside the Colosseum, nor would it be a "Disneyland" attraction.City officials have said that mock gladiator fights are a more appropriate way to celebrate the anniversary at the Colosseum than pop concerts, which risked damaging the monument because of high decibels and vibrations.

As in the days of Noah...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Multicultural displays 'neutering' Christmas

Christmas is being compromised in one New York town in the name of inclusivity.In the New York village of Armonk, officials have placed a menorah for the Jewish faith and the Islamic star and crescent for the Muslim faith alongside the town's Christmas tree.Bill Donahue of the Catholic League does not believe a Christmas tree correctly represents the Christian faith. Instead, he says the Christian religious symbol of this season should be a nativity scene.(Amen to that....!!!)Last year, a Muslim resident in Armonk asked officials to display Islamic symbols so Muslims could be included in Christmas celebrations.This year,the town complied."There's something perverse in the land.This multicultural rage has been implemented basically to neuter Christmas," Donahue notes. "If you can dilute its significance by celebrating everybody else's religious and ethnic and cultural traditions, then you can really water down Christmas-and that's really what's going on here." According to WorldNetDaily, the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha does not always fall in December, yet it has representation in holiday displays. Donahue believes something is terribly wrong with this picture."To think that we're taking a country which is grounded in the Judeo-Christian ethos and now we're standing religion on its head to accommodate radical secularists whose whole goal is to assault religion, and particularly Christianity, is really troubling," he concludes.
By Charlie Butts
As in the days of Noah...

Barack Obama's Record on the Born Alive Infant Protection Act

Senator Barack Obama thinks if he denies it enough his four votes against protecting abortion survivors will disappear.Watch the video...Barack Obama is NOT moderate when it comes to abortion....

Churches could experience year-end giving drought

The founder of a Christian research firm is predicting a decline in end-of-year giving to churches and non-profit organizations.That projection is based on a recent survey conducted by The Barna Group,which found that churches are already feeling the effects of the economic meltdown.George Barna believes many churches and non-profits operate on the same strategy."This is normally the big giving time of the year-and so during the first three quarters of the year, many churches and even many non-profit organizations engage in some deficit spending, knowing that the final quarter of the year is when they make it up because...people tend to give more generously during that time of the year," he contends. "This is going to be a tight period of time." Barna says churches probably will not be able to make up budget shortfalls and should plan their events and outreaches accordingly. The survey was conducted with a random sample of 1,200 adults.
by Altie Martin
As in the days of Noah...

Obama planning billion-dollar 'bailout' for abortion industry

A pro-life group in Washington has launched a campaign to oppose what it calls president-elect Barack Obama's planned $1.5 billion "bailout" of the abortion industry.Last week, the Obama-Biden Transition Project posted a report on its website that calls for dramatic policy reversals on abortion, including $1 billion in taxpayer money for international abortion groups like Planned Parenthood. The report, titled "Advancing Reproductive Rights and Health in a New Administration," also calls for a 133-percent increase in funding for the Title X program, which funds Planned Parenthood clinics across the country. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, is hoping a Republican-led effort in the Senate will block Obama's plan to substantially increase taxpayer funding of the abortion industry."This billion-dollar bailout of the abortion industry comes at a time, number one, when the economy is suffering dramatically with true need. And number two, it communicates an incredible depth of arrogance, especially when you consider that the vast majority of Americans-men and women, no matter who you talk to-they don't believe that people who don't believe in abortion should be funding it," she contends. "Most Americans don't believe that we should be funding abortions, especially in a time of economic crisis." The Susan B. Anthony List has started a "Stop the Abortion Bailout" campaign designed to recruit thousands of activists to send letters to their senators "with the goal of securing the 41 votes necessary to sustain a Senate filibuster of the abortion bailout."
By Jim Brown
As in the days of Noah...

Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public...

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-A divorced Jacksonville woman said her former church has threatened to "go public with her sins" and tell the congregation about her sexual relationship with her new boyfriend.Rebecca Hancock said harassment from Grace Community Church in Mandarin over her sex life caused her to leave, but she said that didn't put an end to the problem. She said she received a letter from the church's elders telling her the church plans to make her personal life very public. "I'm basically run out. I'm the church harlot," Hancock said.The 49-year-old said she has been dating a man for a while and she said members of the congregation at Grace Community Church haven't been happy about the relationship."Because I have a boyfriend that I'm involved with...to not be married to that person is a sin," Hancock said.She said the issue caused her to leave the church. However, she said the church has not let go of her.The letter Hancock received from the church states that because she has refused to end her sexual relationship with her boyfriend, "you leave us with no other choice but to carry out the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ"..."In accordance with Matthew 18:17 we intend to 'tell it to the church.'""On January 4, my sins will be told to the church, publicly, with my children sitting in the church and my friends," Hancock said.The pastor of Grace Community Church,Dr. T. Scott Christmas, told Channel 4 he had no comment. Pastors with whom Channel 4 spoke on Monday said announcing a sin to a congregation is not abnormal. They said it's written in the Bible to punish sinners who continue to sin.The difference in Hancock's case is that she has left the church, and the pastors said that's is usually where punishment ends.Despite the church's letter stating its biblical backing, Hancock said she has backed out of the church and they should leave her alone because she is no longer a member."I am a Christian, and that will never change. My relationship with Jesus has to do with me and Jesus, and he knows my heart," Hancock said.The book of Matthew does have three steps that the church talked about in taking action against a member who is in sin.Hancock said she is now attending a different church, and said she is planning to send a letter to Grace Community Church to make sure it's understood that she no longer a member.
PS:It is sad a 49 yo woman goes to the media with this very personal issue.Right there it tells me something about her.IF she has children you would think that she WOULD TRY TO KEEP this matter PRIVATE.It is not surprise that nowadays divorced men and women with children will think about themselves and put themselves first--in the name of MYSELF and WHAT ABOUT ME and MY NEEDS--before their children and engage in one relationship after the other with total disregard of the consecuences for themselves and for their children.
Now this woman SAYS she is a "CHRISTIAN"...Its alright she can think of herself whatever she wants,but the fact that she is physically involved with a man without being married to him,and the fact-also-that she says her"relationship with Jesus is between her and the Lord and that He knows her heart..."tells me SHE IS NOT EVEN SAVED...She also--in her own words--"run out of church"...It seems to me that she values her sexual relationship with this man more than her relationship with the Lord.
It is often that we hear from people that dont really want to live according to what the Bible says this mantra of :"My relationship with Jesus is PERSONAL....He knows my heart"--which actually is ALL TRUE but NOT in the sense they are saying it...
The Bible teaches us christians to be first in submission to the Lord and to be obedient to Him and the Word of God,and then to be subject to the authorities at church,at home,in our civil life,etc.This is not the Submission of Islam,this is a loving submission to those that preside above us,like pastors(given that they are walking with the Lord)
Many times when there is no submission to authority,there is a problem with rebellion.In other words...if you want to grow and mature in the Lord you will be part of the body of Christ and be accountable to somebody in authority that will mentor,disciple,pray for you and help you in your christian walk.
Even though our relationship with Jesus is personal,we are part of the body of Christ....We are not LONE RANGERS...
If we are truly living in the LIGHT we shouldnt have anything to hide...
The heart is deceitful...that is what the Bible says....Even though Jesus knows our hearts,He also encourages us to TRUST in HIM more than in ourselves.
He may know our hearts,but that doesnt grant that our hearts are right with God...
Fornication is sin,as much as stealing,lying,etc,etc
Biblical Discipline is good when applied with the right spirit and with love.IF there is no interest in RESTORATION of the person to which discipline is applied,then it should be better not to apply it....Many times I hear about this "discipline" applied in the wrong way that ends up hurting and shunning the sinner--and sometimes cutting him/her off the congregation for ever--instead of being a prayerful process in which restoration in a spirit of love is administered.
I truly pray this woman will have a true encounter with the God of the Bible and will turn from her ways and that she will learn to be Prudent and Private with her life...These details--of which Im blogging now and are all over the web--do nothing good to the whole situation....I wouldnt be boasting of my sin in the media....I wouldnt be sharing this story in the media to try to make the church look bad,when I am the one in the center of the story....But that's just me,you know....
Attending a church DOESNT SAVE ANYONE,the same way that living in a garage WONT MAKE YOU A CAR.....
As in the days of Noah...

COMMUNIST UTOPIA:Protests in China over cats on the menu

Cats are seen caged after being rescued by China Small Animal Protection Association from a Tianjin market that trade cats for meat and fur, in Beijing, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007. A southern Chinese province must stop the "shameful" and "cruel slaughter" of cats for food, a group of more than 40 animal lovers in Beijing said Thursday, Dec. 18, 2008, as they unfurled banners in a tearful protest. Thousands of cats across the country, including at least 5,000 from one province, have been caught in the past week by traders and transported to Guangdong province to be killed for food, said the protesters gathered at the Guangdong government's office in Beijing. (AP Photo/EyePress)
Warning:Graphic but True content in this post
GUANGZHOU, China (AP)While animal lovers in Beijing protested the killing of cats for food on Thursday, a butcher in Guangdong province-where felines are the main ingredient in a famous soup-just shrugged her shoulders and wielded her cleaver."Cats have a strong flavor. Dogs taste much better, but if you really want cat meat, I can have it delivered by tomorrow," said the butcher, who gave only her surname, Huang.It was just this attitude that outraged about 40 cat lovers who unfurled banners in a tearful protest outside the Guangdong government office in Beijing. Many were retirees who care for stray felines they said were being rounded up by dealers."We must make them correct this uncivilized behavior, " said Wang Hongyao, who represented the group in submitting a letter urging the provincial government to crack down on traders and restaurants, although they were breaking no laws.The protest was the latest clash between age-old traditions and the new sensibilities made possible by China's growing affluence. Pet ownership was once rare because the Communist Party condemned it as bourgeois and most people simply couldn't afford a cat or dog.The protesters' indignation was whipped up by recent reports in Chinese newspapers about the cat meat industry. On Monday, the Southern Metropolis Daily—a Guangdong paper famous for its exposes and aggressive reporting-ran a story that said about 1,000 cats were transported by train to Guangdong each day. The animals came from Nanjing, a major trading hub for cats, the newspaper said. They were brought to market by dealers on motorcycles, crammed into wooden crates and sent to Guangdong on trains. A photo showed a cat with green eyes peering from a crowded crate.
Some people in Nanjing spend their days "fishing for cats," often stealing pets, the report said. One cat owner in Guanghzou said people are afraid to let their pets leave the house for fear they will get nabbed."It's never been this bad. Who knows, it might be because of the bad economy. I've heard that there are cat-nabbing syndicates from Hunan that are rounding up cats," said the man, who would only give his surname, Lai, because he feared the cat business might be run by gangsters.
Animal protection groups have occasionally ambushed truck convoys loaded with bamboo cages filled with cats bound for Guangdong. In one recent case, hundreds of cats escaped after their cages were opened, though hundreds more remained penned in the vehicle.Lai Xiaoyu, who was involved in the attempted "rescue," said authorities couldn't stop the cat shipment because the traders said the animals were to be raised as pets.
"The police did what they could, but there's little they can do to stop or punish those traders from shipping live animals," Lai said.People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, issued a statement Thursday decrying the cruel treatment."China has no animal protection laws, and throughout the country scores of cats and dogs are bred or rounded up, crammed onto trucks and driven for days under hellish conditions to animal markets, where they are beaten to death, strangled or boiled alive," said a spokesman for the group, Michael V. McGraw.Guangdong is home to the Cantonese people, famous for being the most adventurous eaters in China. There's a popular saying: "The Cantonese will eat anything that flies, except airplanes, and anything with legs, except a chair."Zhu Huilian, a nutrition and food safety professor at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangdong's capital, Guangzhou, said people usually eat cat in restaurants, not at home."There's a famous soup called 'Dragon, Tiger and Phoenix,'" Zhu said. "It involves cooking snake, cat and chicken together. In winter more people eat cats as they believe it's extra nutritious."The wide-ranging Cantonese culinary tastes are on display daily in Guangzhou, also known as Canton, in the Qing Ping Market. Shopkeepers sit behind cages full of writhing snakes, tubs with turtles and plastic basins with mounds of scorpions crawling over each other.That's where the butcher,Huang, sells her meat, sliced on a blood-soaked cutting board in a stall filled with cages of chickens and rabbits.Hanging on a hook from its head—with its snout cut cleanly off—was a skinned dog with a long curly tail, paws with small clumps of fur still on them and black claws. The dog's jaw bone was displayed in a metal tray beneath the carcass."The cat meat we sell comes from legitimate sources," said Huang, who gave only her surname because her boss doesn't allow her to speak to reporters. "It's from cat farms. The animals are raised the same way cows are."She said cat meat sold for about $1.32 a pound, while dog meat was cheaper, at about 95 cents a pound. Chicken was the best buy at 62 cents a pound, while lamb sold for about $1.32.Huang said customers had to order cat meat a day in advance because it doesn't sell as well as dog."Cat tastes a bit like lamb. I don't like it much," she said. "Young cats are tender, but the meat on the older ones is really tough. Usually old people like eating it."
By WILLIAM FOREMAN--Associated Press Writer
Associated Press writer Gillian Wong in Beijing, researchers Xi Yue in Beijing and Ji Chen in Shanghai, and Carley Petesch in New York contributed to the report.
PS:This is SICK BUT it is the reality of the COMMUNIST UTOPIA...People are forced to live like animals and to eat like animals too,because of the terrible conditions in which they ARE MADE TO LIVE...Communism deprives a person of basic human dignity.
I TRULY hope all those that vote for Obama will enjoy news like this and dont complain when they see "lord Obama--The One"start acting like looney tunes Kim Jong Il,Mugabe or Vladimir Putin..Obamistas--and all those liberals leftists--should ENJOY your life style TODAY....
As in the days of Noah....

UN divided over gay rights declaration...

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters)The U.N. General Assembly split over the issue of gay rights on Thursday after a European-drafted statement calling for decriminalization of homosexuality prompted an Arab-backed one opposing it. Diplomats said a joint statement initiated by France and the Netherlands gathered 66 signatures in the 192-nation assembly after it was read out by Argentina at a plenary session.A rival statement, read out by Syria, gathered some 60.The two statements remained open for further signatures, the diplomats said. No resolution was drafted on the issue and there was no voting, they added.The division in the General Assembly reflected conflicting laws in the world at large. According to sponsors of the Franco-Dutch text, homosexuality is illegal in 77 countries, seven of which punish it by death.The European Union-backed document, noting that the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was marked this month, said those rights applied equally to all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.It urged states "to take all the necessary measures,in particular legislative or administrative, to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties,in particular executions,arrests or detention."But the opposing document said the statement "delves into matters which fall essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of states" and could lead to "the social normalization, and possibly the legitimization, of many deplorable acts including pedophilia.""We note with concern the attempts to create 'new rights' or 'new standards,' by misinterpreting the Universal Declaration and international treaties to include such notions that were never articulated nor agreed by the general membership," it added.This, it said, could "seriously jeopardize the entire international human rights framework."Muslim countries have for years opposed international attempts to legalize homosexuality.U.S. officials said the United States had not signed either document. They said the broad framing of the language in the statement supporting decriminalization created conflicts with U.S. law, but gave no further details.But Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen told reporters it was a "very special day at the U.N.""For the first time in history a large group of member states speaks out in the General Assembly against discrimination based on sexual orientation," he said. "With today's statement, this is no longer a taboo within the U.N."Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari told reporters sponsors of the statement had "cornered" other members by springing the declaration on them.
(Editing by David Storey)
By Patrick Worsnip

As in the days of Noah...

Hamas declares it won't extend truce

Israel will not tolerate ongoing sporadic rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, senior defense officials warned Thursday night, hours before the six-month cease-fire with Hamas was to expire at 6 a.m. on Friday.Hamas officials in Gaza and Beirut announced that the terror group would not extend the truce. Eleven rockets and six mortar shells were fired into Israel on Thursday, following 24 rockets fired the day before.In Gaza, Hamas leaders went underground out of fear of being targeted by Israel. The group also evacuated many of its institutions and security installations in anticipation of an escalation with the IDF. Defense officials said that the only acceptable situation would be complete quiet on the Gaza front, like there was throughout most of the cease-fire and before the IDF launched an operation in November to uncover and destroy a tunnel being dug from Gaza into Israel. The operation triggered a sharp escalation in rocket fire."We will only accept quiet like there was before the operation in November," a senior defense official said. "Sporadic fire of several Kassams a day is unacceptable and will lead us to a collision course with Hamas."On Thursday, OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant held a security assessment at his headquarters in Beersheba, after which dozens of armored vehicles deployed along the border with the Gaza Strip. Officers in the Gaza Division said their orders were to be "ready for an escalation at a moment's notice."IDF sources said the past week's rocket fire was carried out by Islamic Jihad under orders from Hamas to escalate the situation. Hamas, the officers said, wanted to pressure Israel into opening the border crossings and expanding the cease-fire to the West Bank.IAF bombings of two Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza overnight Wednesday were aimed at sending a message to the terror group that it would pay for its affiliation with Hamas, the officials said.The decision not to renew the cease-fire was taken following a series of consultations between Hamas and other Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip. It was being regarded as a victory for the Syrian-based Hamas leadership, which, along with other radical groups such as Islamic Jihad, was strongly opposed to an extension unless Israel lifted its Gaza blockade.Some Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip had maintained that the cease-fire should be extended so as not to give Israel an excuse to launch a massive military operation.Despite the announcement, sources close to Hamas predicted that the movement would eventually agree to abide by a renewed cease-fire. The sources said it was trying to extract concessions from Israel as a precondition for extending the cease-fire.Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum accused Israel of "destroying" the cease-fire by continuing to target Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank and by refusing to reopen the border crossings into the Gaza Strip."There is no room for extending the cease-fire and Israel bears full responsibility for its collapse," he said. "Tomorrow [Friday] will be the last day of the truce." Representatives of other groups joined Hamas in declaring that the cease-fire was over.Saleh Zeidan, a member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, cited the continued Israeli blockade as the reason for letting the cease-fire lapse. He called on all armed groups in the Gaza Strip to prepare for a new round of confrontation with Israel.Walid Hils, spokesman for Islamic Jihad, said his organization "reserved the right to defend the Palestinians against Israeli aggression after December 19." He warned Israel against assassinating prominent figures or invading the Gaza Strip, saying it would pay a heavy price for such an "adventure."Abu Mujahed, spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees - an alliance of various armed groups in the area - said that Israel had ended the cease-fire through its policy of "killings and incursions" in the Gaza Strip.Meanwhile, UNRWA announced on Thursday that it had exhausted all stocks of flour in its warehouses in the Gaza Strip. Food distribution, the UN agency said, would be suspended from Thursday until further notice.
To watch the video,click on the URL below:
Violence escalates as shaky Gaza cease-fire set to expire
As in the days of Noah...

Gaza truce over

Olmert:Peace with Syria is feasible

PM Ehud Olmert, who announced suddenly that he will go to Turkey for talks on Monday, said Thursday evening that "a peace treaty between Israel and Syria is feasible" and would result in "significant advantages" for Israel."A peace treaty would lower the possibility of war, break the strategic ties between Damascus and Teheran, lead to the expulsion of the Islamic Jihad and Hamas headquarters from Syria, and would stop the cash flow to Hizbullah," Olmert told a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University."Syria does not necessarily want to be part of the axis of evil," he said."Syria wants to reconnect with the West and the United States."Removing Syria from the axis of evil is an Israeli interest."The prime minister said that although he could not guarantee the success of a peace process with Damascus, it was important to try."How will we know if we don't try? How can we try if we are not prepared to take any risks?" he said.Olmert also said that the indirect Israel-Syria talks mediated by Turkey could lead to direct negotiations. His comments came after his office announced unexpectedly that he would meet with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Ankara next week.Government spokesman Mark Regev said the two leaders would discuss regional issues. However, he did not elaborate.According to a statement put out by the Prime Minister's Office, Olmert spoke with Erdogan on the phone on Wednesday night, and the two decided to meet on Monday to discuss "bilateral and regional issues including the diplomatic processes in the region."One diplomatic official said that although the Syrian track would undoubtedly be discussed, the visit to Turkey was one of a number of farewell visits Olmert has made recently to friendly countries.Since becoming a lame duck prime minister with the election of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni as Kadima head in September, Olmert has traveled to Russia, the US, and Britain. He returned from a two-day visit to London on Wednesday.Likud Chairman and opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday evening said that he supports diplomatic talks with Syria and intends to continue contacts with Damascus,Army Radio reported.However, Netanyahu said that Israel's security needs require an Israeli presence in the Golan Heights. He reportedly made the remarks at a meeting with French President Nicholas Sarkozy in Paris.
Turkey has been mediating peace talks between Israel and Syria, but MKs from across the political spectrum have repeatedly said the negotiations should be put on hold until a new government is established. Damascus has also reportedly said that it would prefer to postpone further negotiations until that time.The fourth and last round of indirect talks in Turkey was held in July. A fifth round was put off following the resignation of Yoram Turbowicz, Olmert's chief-of-staff who was heading the talks.In October, speaking at a news conference in Ankara with visiting Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said there had been progress in the talks and that both sides were happy about the point they had reached.On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Damascus had drafted a document defining the boundaries of the Golan Heights and which puts Syria on the northeastern Kinneret shore.
Jpost.com staff and AP contributed to this report.

As in the days of Noah...

Bibi:Iran "greatest historical challenge" facing the world

Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu warned Thursday that "a terribly dangerous threshold will be crossed" if Iran obtains nuclear weapons, and urged world leaders to make sure it does not happen.After a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the hardline front-runner in next year's elections, laid out his plans for Mideast peace and called Iran the "greatest historical challenge" the world faces."We have never had a situation in the history of the world in which a radical regime with a retrograde ideology and apparently known ambitions on the use of force will get access to the weapons of mass death," Netanyahu told reporters, referring to the prospect of an Iranian nuclear bomb.The whirlwind visit to Paris came as a French parliamentary report raised new warning signs about Iran's progress toward a nuclear weapon, and amid revelations about a budding European Union peace initiative for the Middle East.French Foreign Ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier, confirming some details of a report Thursday in the Le Figaro daily newspaper, said EU foreign ministers had discussed earlier this month a "working document" to ease tensions between the Palestinians and Israel.The document, which had not been previously made public, mentions the prospect of making an international force "available" for Palestinian areas if both sides agree, and setting up "an international mechanism" that could give financial help to Palestinian refugees, he said.The document raises the possibility that Jerusalem could be "the capital of two states" side by side - Israel and a future Palestinian state, Chevallier said. He said the proposal is still in the works.Netanyahu said he made his position on those issues clear to Sarkozy."We want a united Jerusalem under Israel, with access to the religious sites, to all the three great faiths," he said. "Our position on refugees is also unchanged: We'll seek a solution to the problem of refugees but not in Israel - we will not entertain refugees, Palestinian refugees, inside Israel."The meeting also came two days after the Foreign Affairs Commission at France's National Assembly published a report on Iran, detailing concerns that Tehran could achieve a nuclear bomb sometime between 2009 and 2011.Drawing on testimony from dozens of academics, defense experts, diplomats, intelligence chiefs, and officials from Iran, Israel and elsewhere, the report said, "Iran's access to the nuclear bomb is seen as inevitable and very dangerous, notably because of the risks of escalation with the United States."Jean-Louis Bianco, the Socialist lawmaker who led the preparation of the report, told The Associated Press that the report's major contribution to the debate over Iran's nuclear program was that "we state more clearly than others our belief that they are on the threshold of the nuclear weapon."Bianco said the report's other thrust was its call for "extremely open" talks between the international community and Iran over its nuclear program, which the Islamic regime says is aimed at generating electricity."The coming year or two - this is the timetable we are talking about - will be a pivot of history," Netanyahu said. "If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, then a terribly dangerous threshold will be crossed."Netanyahu also met with French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, laying out what Netanyahu called a "new approach" that would put more attention on Palestinian economic development. Netanyahu's Likud party has been leading in most polls in Israel, although one released on Thursday showed Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's Kadima party closing the gap.His visit to France was his only stop in Europe this trip. France's presidency of the European Union ends on December 31, and the former Israeli prime minister has claimed a good personal relationship with Sarkozy.
By AP--Paris

As in the days of Noah...

Russian S-300 anti-air weapon already delivered to Iran

Despite the efforts of US and Israeli leaders, Moscow has begun delivering the highly sophisticated medium-range air defense S-300 system to Iran for securing its nuclear and strategic sites against potential attack.The RIA news agency reported Wednesday night, Dec. 18: "Moscow has earlier met its obligations to supply Tor-M1 (short-range) systems to Iran and is currently implementing its contract to deliver S-300 systems."DEBKAfile's military sources disclose the S-300 deliveries began two weeks ago.Their installation, coinciding with the return home of members of Iranian air defense officers from training in Russia, means that air or missile attacks on Iranian sites will henceforth be extremely difficult and carry a high price.On 9th October, DEBKAfile's Moscow sources reported that Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert failed in the key mission of his trip to persuade Russian leaders to refrain from selling this advanced weapon to Iran and Syria.On July 9, US Secretary of State Robert Gates said: "Based on what I know, it's highly unlikely that those air defense missiles would be in Iranian hands any time soon." Clearly, Gates was misinformed and his intelligence wrong, since five months on, those missiles are on their way to Iran.While both the Bush administration and Israeli leaders insisted that a military option remained on the table if Iran persisted in its nuclear weapons program, neither took into account that Tehran was not deterred or standing idle.This week, the Israeli defense ministry announced that Amos Gilead, a high official, would travel to Moscow Wednesday, Dec. 17 in a final bid to hold the Kremlin's hand. But Olmert and defense minister Ehud Barak had missed another boat.DEBKAfile's military and intelligence sources report that after Iran, Moscow will install the S-300 in Syria, focusing on securing the Russian naval bases going up in the Mediterranean port of Tartous. By selling these countries top-line weaponry, Moscow is strengthening its military presence and influence in two Middle East countries of especial interest to the United States and Israel – a tactic Soviet Russian employed in the Cold War.

As in the days of Noah...

PESTILENCE WATCH:Death toll tops 1,100 from Zimbabwe cholera

HARARE (Reuters)The death toll from a spreading cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe has soared to 1,111, the United Nations said on Thursday, adding to pressure for a quick solution to the crisis in the southern African country.South African ruling African National Congress (ANC) leader Jacob Zuma ruled out military intervention and backed a diplomatic push as the way to end political deadlock and prevent a total collapse of the once relatively prosperous nation.U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African affairs Jendayi Frazer also backed a political rather than military solution but was far from hopeful about talks between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition on forming a unity government."We certainly think that the power sharing deal is on life support, it's close to dead," Frazer said in Mozambique.That cast doubt on comments from South African President Kgalema Motlanthe that he hoped for agreement this week.The latest cholera figures from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva included a new outbreak in Chegutu Urban, west of Harare, where more than 378 cases and 121 deaths were recorded, it said in a statement.It added that more than 20,580 people had been affected by cholera since August.The spread of the disease, which causes severe diarrhea and dehydration and is normally easy to treat, has increased international pressure on Mugabe. Western countries have renewed calls on the veteran leader to step down.Prominent figures, including Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Nobel peace laureate and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have called for Mugabe to go or for peacekeeping troops to be sent to Zimbabwe.When asked in an interview with South Africa's 702 Talk Radio whether he favored sending troops to Zimbabwe, ANC leader Zuma said: "No. Why military intervention when there is no war? We should be pressurizing them to see the light."
By Nelson Banya
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As in the days of Noah...